What makes me an activist?

15 Mar

This fall I’m entering a Master of Social Work program, stepping down from my job in reproductive health, and stepping back from other reproductive justice activities. With this transition comes some sadness about being removed from reproductive health, rights, and justice circles and people who have become my allies and friends. The people who I have met over the past few years have provided constant inspiration and support and have challenged me to become a better activist and person. Not engaging with them or the issues I’m passionate about on a daily basis makes me feel like I’m losing something important.

But why do I feel this way, and why does it feel so different from the other transitions I’ve undergone thus far? Maybe it’s because I’m 25 and any life transition is going to feel this way. Or maybe it’s because I am so passionate about abortion access and reproductive justice that taking a break from that feels especially unsettling.

Maybe it’s that the next part of my life is uncertain, and that I’m not sure how reproductive justice activism will fit into it.

If I’m not actively doing activist work, does that mean that I am no longer an activist? What does being an activist even mean? I don’t envision myself as a person who will stop talking, writing, or making art about abortion rights or health care access, but maybe I will. Maybe I will take steps back as I grow older. Maybe I will spend time planning my wedding, learning, and having new experiences.

My hope however, is that no one like me will stop being a reproductive justice activist. Not until we live in a different world where everyone has the ability to plan and space their pregnancies and parent with means, support, and dignity.

That’s why I have all of you, my online Abortion Gang community. No matter what else I’m doing in my daily life, I have this community to speak and engage with, to feel connected to, and to talk about the issues that we care about. And as a social worker, I am going to be doing justice-oriented work that matters. It might not be what I’m doing now, but it will be something that will make a difference.

The next few years will bring challenges and growth, and that must be what life and activism are about. My work will become more intersectional and I will have another frame to see things. I will bring social work to my activism and activism to my social work. I will find new things that I want to do and new communities to be a part of. I will blog more, but I won’t give up talking or fighting. I will make mistakes. I will discover what it means to care so much, although I may never figure it out completely. And I will find a new ways to dedicate my heart to my work.

3 Responses to “What makes me an activist?”

  1. SWRJ March 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    Entering social work school doesn’t mean you have to give up your reproductive justice advocacy!
    Social Workers for Reproductive Justice @socialworkersrj

  2. Megan March 21, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    So true! Looking forward to getting more involved with SWRJ, for sure.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Why social workers should care about reproductive justice | Abortion Gang - December 12, 2013

    […] After mulling over future career options, I decided to take a break from the reproductive health world and go back to school. This fall I began a Masters of Social Work program in Boston and am working with elders in public housing. Each day I am reminded about the resilience and humanity inherent in each of us. To me, social work means that I have the luxury of not forgetting that we are all capable of extraordinary things. I am loving it. […]

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